At times like these, the Academy Awards feel somewhat frivolous. It’s possible that some likely winners — The Salesman, Mahershala Ali, The White Helmets, OJ: Made In America, and even Zootopia — will have a political charge. We can certainly expect at least a few winners at the podium to speak out against the GOP’s onslaught of intolerance. Still, the main narrative of this Sunday’s Oscars telecast is shaping up to be about escaping these horrors rather than confronting them. I’m finding it difficult to celebrate that.
But this was no ordinary year.
Where to begin, when we speak of 2016? Most years, I just pick my favorite films, and that’s it. But this year, it felt important to really think about these choices, and what they expressed about my feelings this year. That’s not to say I picked a bunch of films I didn’t like as much just because they were “important.” Not at all. But I also know that when I look back at what cinema offered in 2016 many years from now — provided we’re still all in one piece by then — I do want it to reflect the turmoil, the despair, and the utter, unspeakable horrors inflicted upon so many of us over the course of the last year.
Sooo… no, La La Land will not be my pick for Movie of the Year.
The “coming out” film has been the cornerstone of queer cinema for at least a couple of decades. For all the progress the LGB… (sorry, I’ve lost track of how many letters are supposed to be attached to that alphabet soup) movement has made in shifting from the niche to the mainstream in that time, movies about these people haven’t changed much.
As everyone knows, franchises are Hollywood’s bread and butter. Yes, the bread is usually stale and the butter has been sitting out long enough that it’s getting hard on the outside, but that doesn’t matter to your average moviegoer, who generally hates cinematic surprises of any kind. There are movies, and then there are sequels, and then there are spinoffs, and then there are prequels, and then there are reboots, and then there are remakes. We accept this as the standard way of things, the blockbuster circle of life.
So what, exactly, is The Bourne Legacy?
Please don’t obliterate my childhood.
The bad news? There’s no actual Jason Bourne in it — meaning, no Matt Damon. And no Paul Greengrass, either.
The good news? Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, and Rachel Weisz have been added to the franchise — plus the return of Joan Allen. I guess that will have to do!